At seven years old, I was apparently too young to see the New Kids play the Puyallup Fair in 1989, according to certain adults in my life who I haven’t quite forgiven yet. But I was old enough to tag along to drop off my older sister at the show, tears streaming down my face as I peered through the fence to catch a glimpse of the boys. The giant Joey McIntyre button/consolation prize was a futile attempt to distract me from this traumatic moment that would surely follow me for the rest of my life…at least until Tuesday’s NKOTB reunion show, unsettlingly called The Package Tour, when all became right with the world. Thank you Live Nation!
This man-band put on a show with so much energy that it’s hard to believe some members may or may not be pushing their mid-40s.
Leading up to the New Kids’ two-hour headlining performance were iconic R&B group Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees. Boyz II Men’s all-too-short set included some of their best-known hits, such as “On Bended Knee,” “Water Runs Dry” and “I’ll Make Love to You.” The only thing missing from the performance was the memorable, deep-voiced, spoken-word sections of the band’s biggest hits, performed by former band member Michael McCary, who retired due to health problems. Aside from that, the epic vocals of remaining band members Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman were incredible in spite of the Tacoma Dome’s less-than-ideal acoustics. The six-song set was over far too early.
98 Degrees was next, performing an eight-song set that included a few of their hits, such as “The Hardest Thing,” “Because of You” and “I Do (Cherish You).” As band member Nick Lachey stated, the band focuses on ballads, and songs with meaning and substance. Reading between the lines, he must have meant that as an excuse for their less-than-stellar choreography. Stick with what you do best, boys!
Then came the moment all the soccer moms in the audience were waiting for...the grand entrance of Jordan Knight (quite the diva), Jonathan Knight (who seemed at times less than thrilled to be a man-band member), Donnie Wahlberg (still the bad boy), Danny Wood (quite the breakdancer) and Joey McIntyre (who looks exactly the same as he did 25 years ago). As famous as they were 25 years ago, they still know how to put on a show without taking themselves too seriously. It was a good mix of making the audience swoon with old-school hits “Please Don’t Go, Girl,” “Cover Girl” and “Baby, I Believe in You,” while still throwing in songs from their latest album “10,” released last April. Even decades later, the New Kids are recording fun, high-energy songs. And with surprises throughout the show, such as an appearance by Sir Mix-a-Lot (which was beyond words) and Joey-Joe bringing his young son on-stage for a song, they know how to deliver an epic performance. It’s no wonder these guys are still around.
See more of Bill Bungard's photos at: http://www.billbungard.com
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